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Exactly How To Reheat Pad Thai [I Test 3 Methods]

Let me guess. You’ve just been defeated by a monster Thai feast. Or you may just be being sensible and planning your meals for the next week.

Either way, you may be wanting to know what the best way of reheating pad thai is.

I have experimented with virtually all of the reheating techniques you can imagine, to find out what delivers the freshest, tastiest, and least dry reheated pad thai.

In this article, I cover:

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

What’s the best way to reheat pad thai? The best way to reheat pad thai is in a frying pan. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan until it’s shimmering. Add the pad thai along with a splash of liquid such as water or sauce. Fry the pad thai for 2-3 minutes or until piping hot. Serve immediately for best results.

A note on my experiment

I ordered some pad thai from my local Thai restaurant, had one portion for my dinner (I couldn’t order it and not have any!), and put the rest in the fridge overnight.

The next day, I tested three different ways of reheating the pad thai. I tested:

  • The stove (best)
  • The microwave (good if you’re in a rush)
  • The oven (good for large batches)

The stove was the best method and resulted in the most fresh-tasting reheated pad thai.

Reheating pad thai on the stove

To reheat pad thai on the stove, heat oil in a skillet or wok until it’s shimmering. Add the noodles along with a splash of liquid such as water or sauce. Fry the pad thai for 2-3 minutes, then serve.

Microwaving the noodles for five seconds in the microwave before adding them to the pan can help loosen them up. 

The stove is the best option for reheating pad thai because it delivers a fresh-tasting, moist pad thai – almost as good as when it was first made.

Done right, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

A wok is the best pan option here, but a skillet will work too.

How to reheat pad thai on the stove:

  1. Put the pad thai in the microwave for 5 seconds to soften the noodles (optional).
  2. Gently prise the noodles apart with a fork so they’re easy to stir when you start heating them in the pan.
  3. Heat some oil in your pan/wok on a high heat until it’s shimmering (peanut oil is a good choice for pad thai).
  4. Add the pad thai to the pan along with a tablespoon of water or extra sauce.
  5. Stir the pad thai constantly for 2-3 minutes or until it’s piping hot.

The microwave step is optional, but I recommend it. When you get your pad thai out of the fridge, it will more than likely be stuck together in one big blob. If you put this blob straight in the pan and start stirring, all the noodles will break.

The microwave will soften the noodles and make the whole thing easier to separate, so you don’t end up with a bowl of broken noodles. 

Five seconds seems short, but it’s all you need. Any longer and you risk ruining the noodles’ texture.

Rice noodles can dry out a little bit in the fridge. The water re-moisturizes them, but don’t use too much or you’ll end up with a watery pad thai.

If you know you’re going to have leftovers, then it’s a good idea to make some extra sauce and use this instead of water. That way, the noodles stay moist and you don’t lose any flavor.

For best results, don’t overcrowd your pan. Overcrowding can lead to uneven heating and mushy noodles.

Also, don’t heat the noodles longer than necessary. Overcooked pad thai is gooey and gross.

Verdict

The pad thai was really nice reheated in a skillet. The noodles weren’t mushy, and the flavor of the pad thai was still there. With other methods, the flavor was a bit flat.

I think the high heat of the stove re-invigorated the sauce and the seasonings, bringing them back to life.

Reheating pad thai in the microwave

To reheat pad thai in the microwave, put it in a microwave-safe bowl along with a tablespoon of water. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap, poking a few holes so steam can escape. Then heat the pad thai on 50% power in 30-second intervals until it’s piping hot. Stir after every 30 seconds.

The microwave isn’t ideal for reheating pad thai because the resultant noodles can end up dry, oily, and sticky. 

But sometimes the microwave is your only choice, so you have to make do!

I’ve found that as long as you’re careful, the pad thai will turn out fine.

How to reheat pad thai in the microwave:

  1. Put your pad thai in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Sprinkle a tablespoon of water over the pad thai.
  3. Cover the bowl with a lid, leaving a gap for steam to escape. Or use plastic wrap with a few holes poked in it.
  4. Heat the pad thai on 50% power for 30 seconds before taking it out and stirring.
  5. Heat in further 30 seconds intervals until the pad thai is piping hot.

The water makes sure the noodles don’t turn out too dry.

The microwave is a harsh heating method, and used in the wrong way can ruin a delicate dish such as a pad thai. Overheating it will leave you with mushy noodles and a split, oily sauce. 

To prevent this from happening, use your microwave on 50% power and heat the pad thai in short intervals. Checking the pad thai regularly significantly reduces the chances of you overheating it.

Verdict

My pad thai was okay out of the microwave. I stopped heating it as soon as I thought it was hot enough, so the noodles still had a bit of bite (though not much). However, the flavors were a bit muted.

Okay if it’s your only option, but the stove is better.

Reheating pad thai in the oven

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Spread the pad thai out in a baking tray and sprinkle some water over the noodles. Cover the baking tray with foil and heat the pad thai in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Five seconds in the microwave can help loosen the noodles up if you’re finding them hard to spread.

The oven doesn’t seem like an obvious choice for reheating pad thai, but it can be handy if you have a big batch to reheat.

The resultant pad thai won’t have the crispness of a freshly fried pad thai, but it’ll be warm, flavorsome, and moist. 

How to reheat a pad thai in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Put the pad thai in the microwave for 30 seconds to loosen up the noodles (optional).
  3. Spread your pad thai out on a baking tray and add a tablespoon of water per serving.
  4. Cover with foil.
  5. Heat in the oven for 5-7 minutes, depending on how much pad thai you have. Check the pad thai after the first 5 minutes to decide if it needs longer.

The water stops the pad thai from completely drying. You could also substitute it for oil or extra sauce.

The microwave step is optional but recommended. When you take the pad thai out of the fridge, chances are it will be very stuck together and you won’t be able to spread it out on the baking tray.

Microwaving the pad thai for a few seconds solves this problem by loosening the noodles and making them easier to separate without breaking.

Verdict

The noodles were noticeably mushier after they came out of the oven, so I don’t recommend this method unless you have lots of pad thai to reheat, and you’d have to do several batches on the stove.

How to store pad thai

To store leftover pad thai, wait for it to cool to room temperature before putting it in an airtight container and keeping it in the fridge. The pad thai will last 3-4 days in the fridge. If you have any extra sauce, you can store this separately in the fridge or the freezer. 

The pad thai must be at room temperature (or close to it) before you store it. If it’s not, you’ll get condensation which will turn the noodles mushy. 

The noodles will stick together in the fridge. There’s no avoiding this. 

But luckily, it’s pretty easy to sort your sticky noodles out. You just need to zap the pad thai in the microwave for 4-5 seconds to loosen the noodles before reheating it with your chosen method. 

After a few days, the noodles will start to get overly dry and the vegetables mushy. When this starts happening, it’s time to throw the pad thai out.

Can you freeze pad thai?

You can freeze pad thai, but I don’t recommend it. The noodles and the vegetables will lose their texture in the freezer, and the dish will turn into a sloppy mess when you reheat it. It will still be edible, but it won’t be appetizing. 

If you do want to freeze your pad thai, put it in a heavy-duty freezer bag and squeeze as much air out of it as you can. Any air pockets will increase the risk of freezer burn so you want to eliminate them. The pad thai will stay at the best quality for around a month.

To thaw the pad thai, leave it in the fridge overnight or rest it in a bowl of cold water for half an hour.

A better way to freeze pad thai is to freeze the individual components. For example, pad thai sauce freezes really well.

How to freeze pad thai sauce

Make a big batch of the sauce and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Once the cubes have set, you can transfer them to a bigger airtight container and put this in the freezer. Every time you want to make pad thai, you can easily take a few cubes out. The sauce will last around six months in the freezer.

How to freeze rice noodles for pad thai

For the noodles, you’re best off freezing them before you’ve fully cooked them. This will help them retain their texture (although it doesn’t always work). Soak the noodles and then put them in a freezer bag, squeezing as much of the air out as you can. The noodles will stay at best quality for around two months. 

How to freeze pad thai vegetables and meat

Most vegetables, including bean sprouts, cabbage, and carrots, freeze best when you blanch them. This means cooking them in boiling water for a minute before plugging them in a bowl of ice-cold water. 

Prepare the veg, blanch them and then put the mixture in a freezer bag (again squeeze as much air out as you can) and freeze them. The vegetables should last around three months.

If you’re using any meat or fish, cook these thoroughly before you freeze them. You can mix them in with the vegetables before freezing.

The BEST Way To Reheat Pad Thai

Let me guess. You've just been defeated by a monster Thai feast. Or you may just be being sensible and planning your meals for the next week.
Either way, you may be wanting to know what the best way of reheating pad thai is.
I have experimented with virtually all of the reheating techniques you can imagine, to find out what delivers the freshest, tastiest, and least dry reheated pad thai.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 4 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 1 person
Calories 400 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion pad thai
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 splash liquid water or sauce

Instructions
 

  • Put the pad thai in the microwave for 5 seconds to soften the noodles (optional).
  • Gently prise the noodles apart with a fork so they’re easy to stir when you start heating them in the pan.
  • Heat some oil in your pan/wok on a high heat until it’s shimmering (peanut oil is a good choice for pad thai).
  • Add the pad thai to the pan along with a tablespoon of water or extra sauce.
  • Stir the pad thai constantly for 2-3 minutes or until it’s piping hot.

Notes

The microwave step is optional, but I recommend it. When you get your pad thai out of the fridge, it will more than likely be stuck together in one big blob. If you put this blob straight in the pan and start stirring, all the noodles will break.
The microwave will soften the noodles and make the whole thing easier to separate, so you don’t end up with a bowl of broken noodles.
Five seconds seems short, but it’s all you need. Any longer and you risk ruining the noodles’ texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 128gCalories: 400kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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